Sunday, 26 October 2008
- Its a border town with the US
- There is a Native reserve
- It has a pulp and paper mill
- It is home to the Cornwall Jail (supposedly haunted)
The last time I was in town I went through the former jail, which was an amazing experience. But I still didn't know chicken wings. I scoured the internet. I asked Chowhound (no one responded). I even walked the streets of the downtown. Could Cornwall be devoid of chicken wings???
On both occasions we didn't have a lot of time. The first excursion there was no time for lunch. On this trip, there was but I still didn't find a place to check out in time. On our way out of town, we spotted a place that I had come across in my research that was supposed to be a great family restaurant and breakfast place. I gave up on my wings, but looked forward to hopefully good meal at Bruyere's.
Inside, Bruyere's looks like a family restaurant that hasn't changed since the 80's. The chairs, the wall paper, the table cloths, the customers: on the walk in I noticed all the senior citizens eating at the joint. Usually that indicates a) the food is good and b) the food is cheap. So there was no hip atmosphere at all, but people seemed to be enjoying their food. Our server Pam was friendly and performed just the right amount of service.
The menu is an interesting hodge podge of everything. Ribs, pies, pasta. They had some great lunch specials (soup/salad, special, and dessert for $7.99)! But the main event here seemed to be the breakfast items.
LJ went for the "Hungryman" breakfast: 2 pancakes, 2 eggs, 1 bacon slice, 1 sausage link, 1 ham half, 6 toast halfs, home fries and a coffee for $7.69. LJ asked for the eggs sunnyside up and Pam told her that according to new rules, eggs could no longer be served sunny side up. I don't know what these 'new rules' came from, but poached eggs it was.
I decided to mix things up a bit. I got a cup of homemade pea soup. It was hearty and flavourful and would have been great on a colder day. The only thing it was missing was ham hock. Would have made it.
And to my surprise, there was chicken wings on the menu. Well, sort of. I breezed through the menu the first time. No wings. Second time, I saw an appetizer combo of mozza sticks, something else, and wings! So I scoured the menu looking for the actual order of wings. Some restaurants put it in appetizers. Others main course. And even others give wings their own section. But here, there was not mention. LJ pointed out that the combo could be split into individual orders. So I was set.
2008 THE SCORE 3.0: Bruyeres Restaurant ~
??? fried, possibly pan-fried
$6.99 for approx 12
A little tingle
Wet but oily
Barely – kinda chewy
Pepsi refills NOT free
This is a breakfast place, not a wing joint
The wings came out and I just stared at them. I didn't understand them. They looked . . . boiled. They looked terrible. They looked small, and shriveled and, well, gross. I mean, not so gross I wouldn't eat them, but one of the worst looking wings I had ever seen.
FINAL SCORE: Well, probably the worst wings I may have ever eaten. They were small, crummy and not that tasty. The breakfast, salad and soup were not bad. But avoid the wings, at all costs. Cornwall must have someplace to get good wings!? 5/20
1225 Brookdale Avenue, Cornwall, ON
Thursday, 23 October 2008
This, like Buffalo Wings, is something that so many places get the name wrong. If you use shredded cheese, mozzarella cheese, Cheeze Whiz, or anything but cheese curds, its not a proper poutine. If you use waffle fries or wedges, it is not a proper poutine. Don't get me wrong, these can be delicious in their own right, but legally they should be mentioned only as variations not specifically as poutine. There are 'legal' variations out there like Italian poutine (with spaghetti sauce) or adding Montreal smoke meat, bacon or even Foie Gros. For me, its classic all the way.
My favourite chip truck (so far in Ottawa) has been JP's Chips. Every time I have gone it has been busy, and this day was no different (6-7 cars in the process of waiting for food or already eating). It is a giant trailer stand (3 axles!) and has a giant menu as well.
There are a ton of things to choose from, including the interesting "Eric's Burger", a beef burger with a chicken burger patty and an onion ring on top. The prices are reasonable and the portions are excellent. People were waiting around in the rain with good reason.
Not only are there a ton of items on the menu, but a lot of condiments for fries and food. They've got your standard salt, ketchup, vinegar and malt vinegar for the fries, mustard and relish and other hot dog/burger toppings, but they also have various containers of 'seasonings' for your fries (Cajun, Greek etc.).
JP's classic move is to stab their plastic fork into the container. I even saw them stick in a sucker for a kids fry!
The poutine, in all its glory. This is a medium, which is a large (or even an extra large) by any real standard. The container was filled to the brim, nearly spilling over.
The fries were not that good on this occasion. Normally they are hot fresh and crispy, but today they got cold quickly. I have no idea why because I saw them come out of the deep fryer. They were also a little well-done. On other visits here, I have not had this issue, so it goes to show that reviewing places require multiple trips to get an idea of what a place is going to be like.
There was so much, I didn't even finish 1/3 of it. In fact, I took it home, LJ had some, I had some more, and still had enough for another meal. For $5.50, you can't go wrong with portions like this.
FINAL VERDICT: This is a mean poutine. Lots of fries, lots of cheese curds, lots of gravy. Normally the fries are top notch but this particular occassion they were off and a bit over done. But the generous curds, friendly service, and large menu makes this a chip truck to check out. Remember, if your curds don't squeek, you shouldn't eat! (it).
Baseline & Clyde (new location opening soon), Ottawa
Note: the stand will be closing for the winter starting November 30, 2008.
Monday, 20 October 2008
Its getting later and later. The car had been left at the auto shop at 8am. Now well after 5pm and still waiting for their shuttle to pick me up, hunger was setting in. Now its 6pm, and they don't know what has happened to their shuttle. I've made dinner for LJ who's sick, but I'm not having what she's having.
I call again about the shuttle; they tell me to take a cab, on them. The cab arrives and we get stuck in rush hour traffic (good thing I'm not paying for this cab). Finally arrive and pick up the car. Not having a car to get groceries with today, there's nothing else in the house to eat so I'm going to have to grab something. But what? First thought, wings. But where am I going to get take-out wings on short notice on the way home?
The Pizza Shop, I guess. It's a little pizza place in a plaza that consists of 3 other restaurants: Mr Sub, a Shawarma place, and Ho-Lee-Chow Chinese. Talk about competition. I've gone to the other 3 places but never the Pizza Shop. I've been disappointed in not having a 'go-to' wing place in the area. Some place to get just a good order of take-out wings. Is that too much to ask? Maybe this could be the place, but I doubt it I think to myself.
On this night, something said, 'go here' in the back of my head. I don't know why, it was a field of dreams moment almost. So I pulled in out of the rain, and ordered a bunch of wings.
Running a quick errand, I came back and the pizza guy was waiting for me outside. It was a big package, but I still wasn't excited. In fact, I had really low expectations. The smell of the wings weren't really getting me psyched either. But once I got back and opened my 2 giant boxes, my interest was certainly peaked.
Deep fried, pizza wings
10 for $6.50
20 for $11.50
30 for $16.50
Suicide had a nice slow burn
Nice and wet
Crisp – didn’t get soggy on the way home
Good – suicide was tasty, but bbq was pretty weak
Didn’t try the pizza
Really good pizza wings
Second thoughts: these are some big wings for pizza take-out. You always gamble with pizza place wings, where they are often small and this night I gambled with a lot of wings. But they were certainly some of the bigger wings to come from a pizzaeria.
The chicken itself was pretty meaty. It was a bit chewy, but not rubbery by any means. The skin was still crisp despite the drive and the sauce all over them.
I split my order into BBQ and Suicide for some variety. When I ordered, I could see a bunch of big jugs of sauce in the back, so I know they wouldn't be homemade, but then again, few take-out places make homemade.
I was pretty sure this was going to be 3rd Degree: it was syrupy, had a smell of chili pepper, and that shiney red colour. When I bit into them, there was the faint taste like 3rd, but I believe it is a rival brand of some sort.
The heat on this sauce was good - it was slow building, first in the throat, and later on the lips and tongue. Not the hottest sauce ever, but it let me know it was there.
The wings were covered pretty good with sauce, glimmering and calling me to them. They were sticky, but spicy. What a great suicide wing and to prove it, I ate every single one.
The BBQ sauce was a different matter. It was thick, but very lightly added to the wings. It was more 'bold' than sweet, but by bold I mean 'earthy' in flavour. It wasn't strong in taste, just sticky wings. I ended up dipping them in the suicide to make up for them.
FINAL SCORE: Sometimes you just have to take a chance on place. I didn't try their pizza, but The Pizza Shop makes a pretty good wing for a pizzeria. BBQ wasn't so great, but the suicide was leaving me satisfied yet still craving more. The chicken is crispy, meaty and large. This just might be my go-to-not-willing-to-experiment-night wings. 9/13*
Wednesday, 15 October 2008
Here it is, the diffinitive guide to classifying chicken wings. Surprisingly, most people do not understand the difference between chicken wings, their cooking methods, styles or the variations that have come about from the popularity of this cooked chicken extremity. After seeing, hearing and watching people confuse and misrepresent what a Buffalo Chicken Wing was, I had to come up with a way to educate and inform about the greatest food out there.
While chicken wings have been apart of the food world as long as we as humans have been eating chicken, it is important to understand that the phenomenon of WINGS comes from the Anchor Bar in Buffalo New York in the 1960's. From that fatefull day, chicken wings have become an important member in the lexicon of popular cuisine. Buffalo Wings were born, then Hot Wings were developed, and then an explosion of the styles and methods of cooking have graced the world. We need to understand the differences so that we can be clear what kind of food we are talking about.
I am breaking this classification down into 4 sections: Wing Parts, Cooking Methods, Wing Styles & Wing Variations.
Let's start by looking at the physical wing itself. Some restaurants/chefs may split it into three parts, two, or as one jumbo unit.
- THE WINGETTE - aka FLAT, MID-WING JOINT
-Part of the wing with 2 bones, and delicious stretched skin.
- THE DRUMMETTE - aka DRUMMY, MINI DRUMSTICK
-Part of the wing that resembles a chicken leg: bulbous meaty end
- THE TIP - aka NUB,
-Part of the wing that is just a tip. Usually discarded (or put into soup etc), but may remain attached. People unfamiliar with the tip may fear it is a mutant part of the chicken, or that it is simply a waste, but can be a small source of crispy joy.
Wing sizes vary from restaurant to restaurant and grocery store to butcher shop. Most of the time, bigger is better - but always try to avoid frozen.
There are many ways in which to cook a wing. These are the most mainstream ways to make wings, but there are always people inventing new ways to prepare them.
- DEEP FRIED
-In a deep fryer or pot filled with oil (different oils will produce different flavours) cooked at extremely high temperatures.
-'Traditional method for "Buffalo Wings"
-Produces the most crispy wings (WK prefered method of wing cookery)
- a) BAKED - aka ROASTED
-Placed on a rack or a pan and roasted/baked, usually at high temperatures.
b) BAKED with SAUCE IN
-Sauced wings that are baked, creating a more flavoured skin.
-Wings cooked over or on a direct source of heat such as a BBQ (charcoal or gas) or a grate (also known as a grill) over a fire.
- STIR FRIED
-Frying wings quickly at high temperatures in a frying pan or wok in a thin layer of oil.
-More common in Asian style of wings.
- SLOW COOKED
-Chicken is cooked in a crock-pot/slow cooker or pot in sauce on low heat for many hours, producing a 'fall-off-the-bone' soft skinned wing.
-A pateneted technique that involves a marinated and breaded piece of chicken, then deep fried and pressure cooked
-Not a common technique but tasty results
-Like grilling, chicken is cooked over an open heat source, but it is the smoke produced (from various types of wood chips/logs) that actually flavours and cooks the wings by drying them out.
There are hundreds of ways to serve wings once they have been cooked, or even before. Here are the 8 main catagories in which to serve wings.
- BUFFALO STYLE
-Wing is deep fried, then tossed in a butter/margerine and pepper sauce (Frank's or Crystal). That is all. If you bake, dust, batter or sauce any other way, it is NOT a Buffalo Wing, it becomes a 'HOT WING'.
-Traditionally served with blue cheese dip with celery and/or carrot sticks to dip.
-Made famous by the Anchor Bar in Buffalo New York, hence the term 'Buffalo' wing
-Residents of Buffalo when refering to 'wings' often mean 'Buffalo wings', but this is misleading as there are hundreds of variation of 'wings'. Hence this classification guide.
-Any wing prepared, then covered in sauce.
-Hundreds of sauce possibilities. Most common include: mild/medium/hot/suicide, BBQ sauce, honey mustard, curry, garlic-parmesean, sweet Thai, maple. Please note that no matter how many people order Honey Garlic, the LOTW blog does not consider Honey Garlic a chicken wing ~ it is an abomination.
- BREADED TYPE
-Preperation of wing involves a coating added on before cooking. There are several variations:
>DUSTED, aka DREDGED: Raw wing is lightly tossed in flour (maybe other spices as well) before cooking.
>BREADED: Wing is dipped in liquid (beat egg, butter milk, hot sauce etc.), then tossed in a dry ingredient (flour, cornmeal etc.) before cooking to create a crispy outside.
>BATTERED: Wing is dipped into batter (dry ingredient & liquid combination) before
frying. Different batters include Beer Batter or Tempura. Least common breading technique.
-A huge generalization, mostly known from North American Chinese establishments.
-Wings are generally stir-fried in a wok (or deep fried first) with various ingredients (often garlic, shallots, peppers etc) as well as a spicy/sweet/sour/salty sauce (ie soy sauce, teriyaki, honey etc) combination.
-Korean Fried Chicken is a glowingly popular dish that is close to both Breaded type and Sauced. I have yet to try but yearn to so much.
-Indonesian ? Maylasian? Japanese? Sure - but I can't report on them yet.
-Wing that is seasoned with secret herbs and spices, breaded, then pressure fried. Some place may simply deep fry.
- DRY SPICED
-Wing (which may be naked, dusted or breaded), fried, than tossed with dry seasonings. Sometimes wings are spiced before cooking.
-Common seasoning include: Cajun, dry salt, lemon pepper, Mexican, and various potato chip flavours.
-Wings that are served in posh environments with flavours rarely catering to the masses
-Wing is often made into a lollipop configuration (meat and skin is all pulled to one end of the bone).
-Chicken wing that has no sauces, seasonings or breading before or after the cooking process.
-Most often ordered from a restaurant so that a consumer may sauce or season themselves.
It took over 20 years for modern 'wings' to become part of the popular cuisine in North America, but once it did, it didn't stop at the wing.
- BONELESS WINGS
-Chicken that is cooked and sauced like a chicken wing (often Buffalo style sauce) but has no bones. It never refers to a wing that has actually been de-boned.
-Chicken types may include: Chicken Finger/Fillet, Chicken Nugget/Fling and Pop Corn Chicken
-May be served on top of a salad
- BUFFALO CHICKEN SANDWICH
-Chicken burger/finger that is tossed in a Buffalo wing sauce, often topped with blue cheese dressing
-May be served as a wrap in a tortilla.
-The term Buffalo refers to sauce, not the cooking method.
- BUFFALO CHICKEN LEG
-A chicken leg or thigh that is deep fried, then tossed in Buffalo wing sauce, just like a Buffalo Wing.
- BUFFALO WING DIP
-Appetizer dip generally consisting of cream cheese, blue cheese, shredded cheese, shredded chicken breast, and hot sauce (usually Frank's) that is baked and served warm.
-No actual wings are involved in the dip.
- BUFFALO WING SOUP
-Creamy, chicken soup (may have wings in it, but more likely pieces of chicken meat) that has Buffalo wing sauce.
-Wide range of snacking foods that have a Buffalo wing flavour.
-May include, but not limited to: Potato Chips, Pretzel Bits, Pop Corn, Crackers, Nuts etc.
So as you can see, Chicken Wings are not just some simple bar food. Complex, diversified, tasty, they truly are a marvel of modern cuisine.
Saturday, 11 October 2008
Wednesday, 8 October 2008
My plan was to marinate the chicken, dust, deep fry, then maybe sauce the drumsticks. The first thing I did was marinate the chicken for 3 days in Laredo hot sauce. I was off to a good start, but there was a problem come deep fry day: how was I going to remove the excess sauce from the cold chicken so that they could be dusted then deep fried? I could 'bread' the drumsticks with the sauce, but I was sure that was going to make a mess. What to do what to do? I can't use a paper towel - that would be so messy and wasteful. Then it hit me, I could bake the drumsticks until the sauce was sufficiently roasted in - brilliant!
Now the drumsticks are baked, then dusted in cayenne/flour/s&p. Shake shake shake.
Deep fried. I was a little nervous pulling them out because they looked over cooked/burnt. Uh oh.
Well, the chicken drumstick turned out great. A bit spicy, crispy skin, juicy chicken meat. The darkened spot was just flavour colouring, not burnt skin.
The BBS was good to - it highlighted the spice and add some extra moisture.
Good for mopping up the skinless chicken.
I also did a few pieces of chicken in the oven, to contrast the two. The oven baked pieces were MUCH spicier. Clearly the baking process protected the heat from the cayenne, while the deep frying eliminated most of the spice. But after eating one roasted, I tossed the rest into the deep fryer for the deliciously crispy skin.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN DONE DIFFERENTLY?
Monday, 6 October 2008
How about having TWO!?!?
For my B-day, LJ got me a deep fryer. Yes she knew I had one already, but my original one is in a storage trailer in Scotland Ontario, (did you know there was even a Scotland Ontario???) and as she said, now you can deep fry twice the wings! What a wise and wonderful woman.
This Rival is the 'civilian' model of my Wing-It fryer. There are only 2 real differences between the two: this model has more precise control of temperature, but it has a round basket thus limiting the amount of food going in. I knew as soon as I opened it up I was having some fresh wings soon!
WK BUFFALO-BUTTER & DRY DILL WINGS v2.0
- chicken wings, split
- cayenne pepper
- garlic powder
- Frank's Red Hot Sauce
- Dill popcorn seasoning
- wash wings, pat dry.
- toss wings in flour/cayenne/s&p, shake well to remove excess flour.
- heat deep fryer to maximum - place wings in when heat ready.
- When wings are golden and crispy, remove from fryer and pat excess oil with paper towel.
- in a bowl, melt butter (1/3 part to 2/3's hot sauce); when melted add hot sauce.
- Toss wings in hot sauce and enjoy!
FOR DRY DILL:
- Immediately after deep frying, shake on dill, generously.
FOR LJ's SPICY DILL:
- Toss wings in hot sauce, then generously shake on dill seasoning.
Pink wings? Yes, the cayenne and flour dusting turned my wings pink. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Let's towel them off now.
The Final Product: two great wing styles in all their glory.
Club House Dill Pickle Pop Corn Seasoning. Shake liberally.
Oh man, white gold!!! Crunchy, dilly - DILL-ICIOUS!!!
Way better than my first attempt HERE
Having traditional wings? Gotta have veggies and dip!!!
The dip sucked. A dill packet from the salad dressing section with sour cream. Junk.
Also did up a few pita wedges in the ol' fryer. First batch was over done - no more than 1 minute. Lesson learned. Great for dipping in the hot sauce.
Just a glorious wing. Spicy (but could have been much hotter). I would rate these hot. The cayenne dusting was tasty but not hot enough.
The dill was a very exciting addition to the wing repertoire. Highly recommended, especially to those who don't like hot spiced wings.
A few weeks ago LJ, who loves dill wings, had the idea for spicy dill. I followed through with the last remaining wings:
Sauced up hot, and then sprinkled with dill - OMG- so goood!!!
Spicy, tangy, dilly - crazy dillicious. Yes I used that joke again.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN DONE DIFFERENTLY? Um, not much. I didn't make the sauce too spicy so that LJ could enjoy it. But if it was just me eating, I would have bumped up the sauce with either cayenne directly into the sauce, or some sirachi (talk about polluting a pure Buffalo sauce!). The dusting was great. The deep frying went well. Hot was good, dill was good, and hot-dill was excellent.
Thanks LJ for the deep fryer and for the wings!!!